After Hurricane Irma devastated popular Caribbean islands such as the Bahamas, Saint Thomas and Cuba, cruise lines will have to rethink their travels in the near future.
In its search for new ports, Mexico is likely to be the best option. For example, Norwegian Cruise Lines departures until November will only make stops in the Western Caribbean, the company said in a statement via email. The Norwegian ‘Escape’ ship, with 4,000 passengers on board and sailing the Caribbean before Irma hit the area, was diverted to Cozumel to avoid the storm.
Jose Arturo Musi, president of the Mexican Association of Companies for Cruise Ship Care, said that Mexican ports such as Cozumel, Mahahual or Progress are likely to benefit from the devastating effects of the hurricane on some Caribbean islands in an interview.
Tourism is the main economic activity of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, where these ports are located. Quintana Roo contributed 1.7 percent to the GDP in 2015, while Yucatan contributed 1.6 percent, according to the latest data available from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
It may take time for cruise lines to establish new routes, Musi said, though Miami is likely to remain the region’s main port.
“Few other ports have the capacity to provide fuel, food and the necessary migratory services. Maybe Puerto Rico or Panama, but Cozumel is favoured “he said.